The Florida Society of Newspaper Editors recently announced its 2009 choices for excellence in journalism. The local Charlotte Sun has been a presence at the winners table for as long as I’ve been subscribing, so I’ve been watching in vain for the annual “cheers to us” item in the local paper.
The lack of news sent me to the FSNE Web site to see what’s going on. In fact, nothing happened. A little historical tally, however, draws an interesting picture.
In 2002, the first year I know about, Jeff Langlois won second place for sports writing, Jon Fredin took second place for feature photography, and the staff as a whole earned second place in the business category. Today, neither Langlois nor Fredin is on staff with the Sun.
In 2003: Renee LePere and Mike McLoone carried home trophies. Neither is currently employed with the Sun.
In 2004: Sarah Coward, Malcolm Brenner, James Abraham, Carrie Call, Don Wilkie and Jon Fredin – all award winners, all gone.
In 2005: Sarah Coward, Chris Stolle, Keith Cerniglia – all award winners, all gone.
In 2006: John Haughey, Buddy Martin, Sarah Coward, Jon Fredin, Dana Clausing – all award winners, all gone.
In 2007: Dugan Arnett, Bob Bowden, Janet Boetsch, Denis DeRambo, John Finneran, Buddy Martin, Sarah Coward, Karlie Rose, Alyssa Schnugg – all award winners, all gone.
Last year, in 2008: Just two awards went to the Sun, one for a special one-time section about the Peace River, and another to columnist John Hackworth. He's still with the paper, survivor of what appears to be a staff-wide decimation of award-winning writers and photographers.
So what about this year? This year, there were no FSNE winners at "America's Best Community Daily." All gone.